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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 9, 2011 10:00am-11:00am PST

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backfire and help team obama? fast and furious, the justice department on the defensive. while the white house battles republicans on the payroll tax. unemployment compensation. and the consumer watchdog. >> when i hear the speaker or the senate republican leader wanting to dicker, wanting to see what can they extract from us in order to get this done, my response to them is, just do the right thing. focus on the american people. focus on the economy. >> this hour, senator john cornyn and former governor ed rendell mod and eurozone rescue. marathon talks produced mixed results and a big holdout. plus proof of life. newly released video today raising new questions about the fate of a retired fbi agent missing for five years since disappearing in iran. here today his wife, christine
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levinson joining us live good day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. in daily fix today, mitt romney is in ohio for only the fifth time since he started his campaign for the presidency. and he is unloading on newt gingrich. a super pac supporting romney has now announce add $3.1 million megabuy starting with an ad targeting the former speaker. chris alissa managing editor of post joins us now. this is the biggest hit on newt gingrich that we've seen so far. we've got this romney superpac announcing a big buy. is it top that this will backfire? >> well, i would say anytime you attack, andrea, it's possible it will backfire. you never really know. they focus group these sorts of things. but you never really know how the media coverage, how the broad elect tore at per receives the attack. the one thing when i watched the clip last night on youtube of the romney superpac ad, it felt a little like a kitchen sink.
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there's a lot to go at with newt gingrich. no question. this is someone who's been in public life for a long time. someone who has acknowledged he's taken positions that appear to be contrary to some major issues. i just wonder if by putting them all in a single 60-second ad, people don't tune it out and say a little bit, politics as usual. but if you parcelled them out one hit at a time over the next three weeks whether they might not be a little more effective. maybe that's the plan. maybe that's what they will do and they just wanted to start with kind of an overarching one. i always wonder if you're putting too much stuff in a single ad for people to comprehend. >> i'm told that part of the strategy is to try to get under gingrich's skin and get him to erupt and make a mistake. this was his reaction. so far he's brushing it off, shrugging it off. >> others are to do what they want to. my only observation is, every time these guys have attacked each other they've gone down. so i don't know that being the attack dog in the voting party is necessarily a big asset. >> if mr. romney does start going on the attack are you
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going to stand by that? >> mr. romney goes on the attack, his prerogative. everyone should run the campaign they're comfortable with. my answers will be positive. >> and romney had a town hall and i think also a news availability. he hasn't exactly been open with the press in the past. but this is what he had to say. again linking -- attacking newt gingrich for what he had to say back in the spring about the paul ryan medicare plan. let's watch. >> spent a good deal of time with congressman ryan when his plan came out i applauded it as a very important step. i said, my plan would be a little different. would be different in some respects but that we were on the same page. this is a place where speaker gingrich and i disagree. he called this right wing social engineering. i believe it's a very important step. >> is the white house just sort of licking its chops over this, the fact that mitt romney in a primary is re-embracing paul ryan's controversial medicare
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plan? in a general election if he were the nominee this could only go down to the president's favor where older voters. >> if mitt romney is the nom neerks andrea, that clip you just played will find its way into an obama ad. i feel very confident in that. and look, i would remind folks watching, medicare is a very dangerous thing to talk about changing at all because for a lot of reasons. but one major reason politically, at least, older voters vote. they are the most reliable voters 65 and over. this is people who are directly impacted by any change or worried that they would be directly impacted by major changes in medicare. they are large constituencies in florida, ohio, pennsylvania. this is dangerous ground for mitt romney. but again, he has to do what it takes to try to win the nomination. worrying about the general election if you're not the nominee is somewhat pointless. >> you can obviously make that turn later on down the road if you have the nomination.
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with some risk of yet another accusation of flip-flopping. but that's another problem down the road. thank you very much, chris. see you later mod as we've said, only 25 days to go until the iowa caucuses. six republicans debating in des moines tomorrow night. the first of two faceoff this week. matt strawn is chair of the iowa republican poirt and joins me now. matt, gray to see you again. you are where all the action is. we're going to be joining you not too long from now in advance of the caucuses and doing the show from there. first of all, what are you looking at tomorrow night? is it everybody against newt? >> well, i think it's shaping up that way, especially when you have an iowa caution elect tore at that anywhere from two-thirds to 70% of iowa caucus goers could still change their mind before january 3rd. so a lot of those iowans are narrowing that list down to either a candidate or two. tomorrow night with only six candidates on stage we're really providing an opportunity for iowans to see a little bit of differentiation between the candidates as they're narrowing the list down over the last
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2 1/2 weeks of the campaign. >> there's an evangelical pastor who has come out right now slamming newt gingrich. this is a santorum video. but this is a sioux city pastor. this is pretty rough stuff. let me play it for you. >> the calista is quite the missionary. first lady here all the way. mothers and fathers of america, newt and calista are the last role models we want our sons and daughters looking up to. seriously. i can't stand barack obama but at least he doesn't trade in his wives like used cars. >> matt, is this good for the republican party in iowa? or even nationally? >> well, i think these are the type of things of course i've got to be neutral as the one who oversees the race. but these are the type of things you typically see in the waning days of any campaign as candidates are trying to get that traction as iowa caucuses goers are dialling. in but i think what i hear from iowans as i go around the state they want to hear what our solutions are for moving the nation forward. so i think there's a tremendous
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amount of risk involved with running this kind of campaign when most iowa republicans want to know what our candidates are going to do to put the republican brand forward but talk about our conservative solutions for addressing challenges that the country has. but i think also the candidates on the ground here in iowa, now that we're going to see it reach a level of activity, the candidates themselves are going to be asked these tough questions by iowans in the coming weeks. it's still very fluid, very unsettled on the ground. i think iowans are looking for differentiation but want to hear solutions from the candidates and not just attacks. >> how important is organization? my pal dan balls at the "washington post" was showing me a picture he took and his "washington post" folks earlier this week at newt gingrich's new headquarters. no furniture there. one woman from texas and i think her daughter. there were some cell phones being plugged in on the floor because there was no furniture. so he's just starting up. when you look at ad spending, gingrich has spent only $233,000 so far.
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rick perry and his supporters, his superpac, have spent $5 million, yet perry's in single digits. does money matter? does organization matter? is gingrich just flowing above the frey and able to reach down and inspire people or excite people without spending the money and having an organization? >> well, it's a little too early to tell if we're in a new normal when it comes to retail level campaign during the caucuses. but one thing that you always need to be successful, it's the three ms. money, a message, motivating voters and the mechanics of an operation. no question right now newt gingrich has a message that is resonating, he's starting to raise money now that he's running ads and hiring staff in iowa. but by the campaign's own admission they're camping up when it comes to mechanics. here's where the mechanics in iowa are so important. we have 774 precincts spread out across the state on january 3rd where you need an individual who is going to stand up in that precinct and advocate on behalf of a candidate and try and conveyance their friends and their neighbors to support that candidate. and at a type when you have
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nearly two-thirds of the electorate that is still persuadable, having somebody from your own community that can stand up and advocate for your candidate is crucial. so i know speaker gingrich's organization is playing catch up on that. but there's no reason that over the the last 2 1/2 weeks they can't make up some lost ground. because the other campaigns clearly have been on the ground earlier and are organizing that way. >> matt strawn, see you soon. but thanks for joining us here today. and is the showdown with congress exactly what the doctor ordered for the white house? former pennsylvania governor ed rendell is a nbc news political analyst and joins us now. hey, governor, thanks very much. is the white house just sitting back and first of all before we get to the showdown with congress, enjoying this whole fight on the republican side, especially as mitt romney raises all of these questions against newt gingrich that are only going to make mitt romney an easier target during the general election if he does become the nominee? >> right. i mean, gingrich is going to get beat up just like governor romney's been beat up. that obviously helps the
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democrats come november. but of course it's a long way from now. and sometimes the slate is sort of wiped clean on presidential campaign after the conventions. but look, the bottom line is you made a very good point. if mitt romney emerges as the nom neerks the fact that he endorsed the ryan planned to or yesterday is going to give him all sorts of problems in states that have older populations like the key states of iowa, florida and pennsylvania. huge problems. because that plan, no ifs, ands or buts about it disengages medicare. medicare is hugely popular. you remember the tea party ad sign they held up saying get your hand off my medicare? it's popular with everybody. that was a step that mitt romney must have taken reluctantly. he had breathing space and right now he doesn't anymore. right now the only winner in this process has been barack obama. >> president obama has had a good week when it comes to the showdown with the hill over the payroll tax and extending
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unemployment. it does look like the republican leadership at least is in a fallback position trying to regroup. they don't have the politics on their side. >> no. the people here are strongly behind the president's position. nobody i think wants to see the pipeline issue made part of this eventual deal. i support the pipeline with proper environmental controls. but it should be discussed. it should be part of an overall energy package. trying to jam it in really is bad politics. so i think the president is looking strong. he's looking like a leader. and he's on the right side of this issue. and if i were the republicans in congress, i would be scrambling to come up with some decent way to surrender. >> now, on the down side, at least as far as being consistent is concerned, president obama, i want to show you, ed, this is president obama march 9th, 2009, signing an executive order saying that he will stick with his scientific advisers drawing a clear contrast between what he
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claims happened during the bush years. this is the president. >> it is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda, and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology. >> so now this week the president tells us that he had nogs to do politically with the decision by the health and human services secretary kathleen sibelius to overrule the decision of the fda and its head. is this credible? this is over of course plan b. >> it's hard to believe that secretary sibelius didn't check with the white house, maybe not the president directly. but you know, they shouldn't have fudged the issue. they should have just said, look, we know what the science says but we think there's a line where parents should have some input into those decisions. and i think that would be supported by 80, 85% of the american people. >> well, that's, though, deciding on the basis of politics and popular support
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rather than what scientists say. >> but i think that's a -- look. scientists can answer a question in a vacuum. and maybe there's scientific evidence that this is a safe procedure. but i think there's also a case to be made that for women 16 years of age and younger that their parents should have some input in that decision. so again, they could have defended it substantive grounds, not scientific grounds but sun standive grounds and not just deny they had any input in it. >> governor rendell, thank you very much. great to see you. >> my pleasure, andrea mod and iowa voters excited about newt but will they stick with him after the onslaught of negative republican ads? and you have a question you want me to answer? join me this and every monday for a live web chat between 2:15 and 2:45 eastern online at this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. new one a day vitacraves plus omega-3 dha is a complete multivitamin for adults. plus an excellent source of omega-3 dha
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mod newt gingrich is generating the most excitement of any candidate so far in iowa, according to the des moines register poll, 44% of likely republican caucus goers say they would be very enthusiastic if gingrich were the nominee. 31% said the same about ron paul, while mitt romney placed a poor third with 28%. anne selzer is president of selzer and company which conducted the poll for the des moines register. charlie cook is publisher and editor of the cook report gingrich's enthusiasm, his timing is great but can he make it with an organization before the caucus? i was talking to matt strawn, as you know he just opened his headquarters and he has not spent very much money. >> the thing about caucuses is that you need people in the room at a particular place at a particular time on a particular night. you can't really caucus at your convenience.
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so you need to have identified your supporters and you need to be sure they know where they're supposed to go and you need to be sure they have a ride to get there. so that organization you just can't underestimate how important that is. >> now, at the same time, peggy noonan has a new "wall street journal" op ed that's come out today online and tomorrow in the paper she talks about gingrich. she said "he is a human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin saying watch this. to win enough focus to winter nomination and then in the fall of 2012 once party leaders have come around and the gop is fully behind him he will begin baying at the moon". charlie cook, this is really the empire striking back. this is the republican conservatives but the republican establishment who know him well, including a lot of people he was with when he was leader in the house. >> this is. i mean, there's no question that speaker gingrich has a lot of passion, a lot of energy, a lot of momentum. but we're sort of asked to assume that the laws of gravity
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are being suspended this year. that things that normally matter like anne said, of organization, about money, of infrastructure, that suddenly they don't matter. and you could get momentum going but can you win a battle of attrition starting on january 3rd in iowa without having that? if your campaign brain trust sits beneath one head of hair in between two ears, can you win a war like this? and i have my doubts, even though gingrich is certainly bright, a million ideas and has lots of things going his way. i'm really skeptical about this. >> i would say the brain trust is between two heads of hair, newt and calista. anne sellser you're going to be sitting down with rick perry. you have rick perry coming up in i think a matter of minutes. tell me about what questions you think you want to ask rick perry
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at the editorial board of the des moines register. >> well, rick perry i think is sort of trying to win away the bachmann and santorum votes. he's up with some ads in iowa that are really sort of bringing -- i think making a play for the people who are opposed to the gay marriage situation here in iowa. they came out to vote in 2010. they ousted three supreme court justices. he thinks that that's a motivated electorate and if he can coalesce them to him he stands a shop to maybe get into the top three. i don't see much of a way forward for him. >> charlie, at this stage, mitt romney, does he really have a chance in iowa? >> well, what's victory? i mean, what if iowa and anne is the best at this, but what if it's kind of muddle? what if there's only a point or two difference between first, second and third? and then it goes to new hampshire and does romney hold on there?
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i mean, you could win a nomination without winning both iowa, new hampshire, but generally if you go 0 for 2, that's the death knell historically. so i think romney can survive a loss in iowa, he just can't survive a loss in both. >> new hampshire is obviously a firewall going south to south carolina and florida. thank you so much, charlie cook. thank you so much, anne selzer. we'll be seeing you soon. i know you've got a date with rick perry coming up at 1:30 eastern. so have at him with your editorial board. thanks, anne. >> good to be with you. meanwhile, newt's former hill colleagues are warning about, as yogi would say, deja vu all over again. the politico briefing up next on "andrea mitchell reports." spark cash gives me the most rewards of any small business credit card. it's hard for my crew to keep up with 2% cash back on every purchase, every day. 2% cash back. that's setting the bar pretty high. thanks to spark, owning my own business
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"politico's" ben smith is live in new york. hey, ben, this pits your action against newt gingrich. he's getting beaten up. but some suggest it is actually going to help him play more of an outsider and it will help him with for example the tea party. >> yeah. i think that's insane. newt gingrich has been on this run for months where he was the kind of friendly uncle of the republican field and these debates attacking the moderators on their behalf, nobody said a bad word about him. now suddenly everybody is saying a bad word about him. rick perry, allies of mitt romney, ron paul, and the entire d.c. pundit class essentially. former members of congress, not a single member of the class who brought him in has endorsed him. i think iowa republican voters are going to listen to those voices at least. a lot of these people are also they trust and respect. so i think gingrich is just now starting to be tested. i think the idea this is all the millions of dollars that are about to be spent attacking him are a gift to him in some ways. are probably a little off.
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>> now, even the washington times, a conservative newspaper here in washington, has a front page story, a big headline about how his former colleagues are not in line and are all nervous about newt gingrich, the one that they knew and didn't love back then. >> yeah. i mean, i do think that there are going to be a lot of newt gingrich stories in the next three weeks that begin, even the conservative blank says that -- has worries about newt gingrich. i mean, because they're just large swaths of the conservative infrastructure who either don't like him or really like love and respect him and particularly his role in bringing around the republican revolution in 1994. the second. but then just don't think he can win the presidency, are terrified he wins the nomination along the way. >> of course, his counter punch is that he is the one who brought them back from the wilderness from decades and decades, half a century of democratic rule in the house. so he does have a counter argument which might be appealing to republican voters in iowa. and that's why it's going to be such a great horse race.
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thank you, ben smith. good to see you. >> thank you mod and pressure building over the justice department's botched fast and furious gun sting. senator jon cornyn next. [ male announcer ] tom's discovering that living healthy can be fun.
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there's technology that makes the air cleaner, but too many plants don't use it. we can't wait. epa must update power plant standards to protect our kids. [ baby coughing ] mod topping the headlines right now on "andrea mitchell reports," there will have to be answers from the pentagon to the astonishing\revelations of disgraceful treatment of 2700 cremated partial remains of 274 fallen soldiers. the house oversight committee has now launched an investigation into the defense department's mishandling of the remains that were dumped in a virginia landfill. leaders of the congressional committee are investigating the dover air force base mortuary and demanding answers from defense secretary leon panetta including critical documents to be turned over dating back to 2002, long before he took over. pentagon officials acknowledge
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it was a mistake to turn over cremated remains to a contractor. you think? police believe that gunman who shot an officer and killed himself was acting alone in the virginia tech shooting yesterday that caused the campus to be locked down for hours. for many it was of course a chilling reminder of the massacre that occurred there in 2007. so far investigators have not found anything to connect the officer and the shooter. the motive is still a mystery. former penn state football coach assistant coach jerry sandusky's attorney said today that sandusky is preparing for the legal battle of his life. he said house arrest is wearing on his client and would not be surprised if sandusky's wife dotty also faces charges. she insist that is all charges are absolutely ununtrue mod republicans are continuing to demand that attorney general eric holder fire his sub border nats at the justice department for their handling of the arms traffic sting known as operation fast and furious. at a judiciary hearing on
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thursday holder was grilled by republicans demanding answers about the botched program that tried to clamp down on arms trafficking along the southwest border. republican senator john cornyn is from texas and serves on the judiciary committee among other committees and heads the senate congressional campaign committee as well. senator, thanks very much for joining us. what should happen to the justice department? how does eric holder need to respond to this now? >> well, the buck stops with attorney general holder. and yet he claims no knowledge, previous knowledge of the botched gun trafficking scheme known as fast and furious where 2,000 weapons made their hands into the drug cartels, made their way into the hands of the drug cartelses, and at least one of them was used to kill an american law enforcement agent. all we're asking is for the attorney general to come clean and tell us what he knows and when he knew it. instead, what he has done, they wrote a letter on february 4th saying that rumors about this
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program were false. and only nine months later in november did lanny brewer, the head of the criminal division come over and say you know what, that letter we sent to congress nine months earlier, that was false. so i think the attorney general would do himself and the country a great service if he'd just simply cooperate with congress, tell us what he knows, and hopefully we can save some lives in the process. >> well, this what he had to say to the judiciary committee i think it was on the house side yesterday. >> right. >> as i have repeatedly stated, allowing guns to walk, whether in this administration or the prior one, is wholly unacceptable. the use of this misguided tactic is inexcusable. and it must never happen again. >> now, congressman, sensen brenner of wisconsin is saying impeachment is a possibility, impeevement of the attorney general if he does not answer all of these questions? do you agree with that or is that going too far? >> well, i think it would be
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better if the attorney general himself would just simply be more forthcoming and not obstruct congress in our congressional oversight responsibilities. look, people make mistakes. we all understand that. but in this town, so often it seems to be the coverup that's worse. and this story is not going to go away. the attorney general himself yesterday said that others will possibly lose their lives as a result of the weapons that are shown up in 11 crime scenes here in the united states and been used to kill untold number of people in mexico in addition to the u.s. law enforcement agent. >> senator, i do believe this program started under the prior administration and was inherited by this administration. correct me if i'm wrong. >> it was different. it was done previously an operation wide receiver was done with the knowledge of the mexican government. this was done without the knowledge of the mexican government. a very serious breach of diplomatic protocol.
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and in the previous effort they never lost sight of the weapons. but here in texas and in elsewhere, gun dealers sold weapons to straw purchasers. the bureau of alcohol tobacco and firearms was told this is a suspicious purchase. we're worried about this. and the gun dealers were simply told to let the guns walk. now we find that this may have been used as a pretext for increased regulation on gun dealers in a legitimate business here on this side of the border. so a lot of questions. and we simply need more honest answers and more cooperation from the attorney general. >> senator, i want to also ask you about one of the hottest senate races in the country, the re-election of course of scott brown in massachusetts, elizabeth warren was on the last word with lawrence talking about robert cordrey. the republicans have blocked his nomination to succeed her as the consumer head of financial oversight. and the bottom line is, you were
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an attorney general in texas. he was a very well-respected attorney general in ohio. and senators, republicans senators are telling me they have no on jekobjections to his qualifications. >> we have now got wall street's best friends in the senate blocking confirmation of rich cordrey, solely to try to hinder this agency, to try to keep it from some real -- calling for some real accountability over wall street. >> so sorry. elizabeth warren making that point. i know this is a big race. you've got polling, new polling showing that she is actually outside of the margin of error leading scott brown in what could be if this were to hold up and it's a long way between now and next year. but this would be a huge upset if he she were to win in massachusetts. >> well, this particular office of this so-called consumer protection bureau is an unelected, unaccountable czar,
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really. and that's the problem. it's not with the nominee himself. and we've asked for some common sense revisions of the law to make -- grant more congressional oversight, to be more accountable. i think again like the fast and furious gun walking program, what really drives people crazy about what's happening in washington these days is it appears that no one's accountable. and when things happen there's no one calm called on the carpet or held responsible. all we're asking for is some common sense revisions in the dodd frank bill to provide more accountability and more transparency. but we've been rejected. and this is really the only tool we have in order to bring the administration to the negotiating table. >> are you upset with scott brown for voting for cordrey's confirmation? he was the only -- i know it was a test vote but he was the only republican vote with the democrats. >> i think every candidate who runs for office has to represent the views of their state, and to
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be responsible to them and accountable to them. and one size does not fit all. what i might -- how i might vote in texas doesn't necessarily reflect how another republican will vote in another part of the country. so i think scott brown's running a very competitive race. i believe he has a very good chance of being re-elected to this seat. and his poll numbers are very strong. but this is going to be a competitive election right up to the end. >> senator cornyn, thank you for being with us, representing texas of course mod 23 european nations have now agreed to bind the economies together. but it's one step forward. if it's signed the new treaty would be the 17 nations in the zur row zone with six nations outside it. hopes of a deal covering the entire european union fell apart when britain said it would not sign on. >> i said before coming to brussels that if i couldn't get adequate safeguards for britain in a new european treaty that i
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wouldn't agroee to it. what is on offer isn't in britain's interests so i didn't agree to it. >> as well, david cameron the british prime minister, explaining britain's decision to stay outside of it. of course they never were part of the eurozone itself. had this to say. >> we're not in the euro. we're better off outside the euro. so we should have europe as a network where we belong to those things that matter most for britain. >> of course, what happens in the eurozone has a critical impact on what happens in the u.s. and we're going to be talking later to david leonord and michelle cabrera who will be joining us to talk about developments in the eurozone. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪
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communities together. michelle caruso-cabrera, thanks so much. will this be the solution or is this just a temporary solution and in fact a treaty still to be signed? >> reporter: market participants seem to think this is still a temporary solution. there's a lot of important ideas in here. and there's a lot of steps forward. there's going to be a lot more fiscal discipline. there's going to be automatic sanctions for governments that spend too much money. and there's going to be some transfer of power away from the national governments, independent governments of germany, italy, spain, et cetera, to a sort of european central government where democrats here in brussels where the head of the ueuropean unione perhaps bureaucrats here could veto some national budgets. there's also an additional pot of money that's been put aside to help stabilize countries in the future. generally speaking, is it the big big bazooka that we were looking for? not necessarily. a lot of folks are calling it more like a water gun.
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but an important step forward. >> a water gun, a pop gun. choose your an analogy. michelle, thanks so much for your reporting. meanwhile you are looking at newly released video of robert le levinson, the former fbi agent who disappeared in iran five years ago. his family received this video from his captors but have only just released it on his web site. here is robert levinson making a plea for help. >> i am not in very good health. i am running very quickly out of diabetes medicine. i have been treated well. and i need the help of the united states government to answer the requests of the group that has helped me for 3 1/2 years. and please help me get home. 33 years of service to the
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united states deserves something. please help me. >> with me now is robert levinson's wife christine from florida. christine, this is so painful to watch for those of us on the outside. i cannot even imagine what it is like for you to live with this. what do you see in watching this video you've lived with it now for a year, almost a year or i guess more than a year. what does it tell you about your husban husband? >> my husband is alive. i could tell that he lost a lot of weight. he is as determined as i am to come home alive to his family. and i'm very hopeful because of it. >> i know you went to iran, you've worked so hard. i've seen you on the hill at the state department over these years. do you have any idea from this video? do officials have any idea of
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where he's being held, of what country even is holding him? >> no. unfortunately we do not know what group is holding him or where he is. and that's the goal with putting out this video along with our plea is to get the message to them that they need to contact us and let us know what need to be done to get bob home. >> when i was in iran and interviewed president mahmoud ahmadinejad he said they had no information on him. i know he has said this to others. iranian officials have said they're not holding him. is it possible he could be in pakistan, could be held by other groups, could be in another country? >> we don't know. and that's what we're asking to find out is who has him and where he is. >> you were hoping, i know, to get some communication. in the video that was put out, your son states that you're waiting for a response to your messages. what is your message to his captors? >> that we will do whatever we
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need to to bring bob home alive to his family. we miss him terribly. >> what can you tell us about what he was doing? he was on an island in territorial iran but off the coast of iran when he went missing. what do we know about what his job was? i know he's a retired agent and he was work as a private investigator. >> right. at that time he was retired almost 10 years from the fbi. and he was working as a private investigator and investigating cigarette smuggling. >> and what is your -- what help are you getting from the government, from the state department? are you satisfied that you're getting all of the help that you need and deserve? >> the fbi has an ongoing investigation. and i know that they are doing everything they can to try and find bob and bring him home. unfortunately, southwest asia is a very difficult place to get information. >> i think i recall that you had a grandchild that was born after he was held captive.
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tell me about your family and about the children, the grandchildren, and how the family is holding up. >> my granddaughter was born almost three years ago. birthday is coming up december 16th. it's very difficult, because every celebration he is missing. my hope is to get him home this holiday season so we don't miss any more family events or celebrations. >> well, christine levinson, our hearts are with you. we've been following this story throughout. i know at least you have this proof of life video. this is something. he has aged. he needs his medication for diabetes. but at least we know that as of november, a year ago, he was very much alive. and our thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue this effort. >> thank you. i appreciate that. thank you. >> thank you so much for being with us mod and what political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours? that's coming up next mod also
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hi, everyone. i'm tameron hall coming on news nation at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. just in a few hours from now the military will reach its deadline to turn over records surrounding the national tragedy that's unfolding at the military mortuary at dover air force base. a house panel is investigating the mishandling of u.s. soldiers remains. we'll talk with one widow who says she's mortified, angry and betrayed. plus one woman who is on a personal mission to make sure the votes of elderly african-americans are counted in the next elections. her fight against colaws. mara skothe .
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hanukkah is coming early to the white house. president obama and vice president biden have lit the national menorah last night. the first night of hanukkah isn't until december 20th. what political story will make headlines in the next 24
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hours? chris alyssa joins us now. we're going to talk about the debate tomorrow night. romney and gingrich and all of the romney attacks on newt gingrich will blow up at this debate. >> i would think it will. even when newt was way down, and that was for a lot of this race, he still was one of the best debaters. in fact, i think the number of debates has helped him revive his campaign. this is really a match-up between the two people who through the 12 -- i think there's been about 12 debates thus far have proven themselves to be the two best debaters. mitt romney is the most solid, newt gingrich is the biest highs and sometimes the lowest lows. >> not on the stage is the former chief of staff and former governor, john sanunu. mitt romney was asked about that today.
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>> you know, i can't write a script for governor sununu or anybody else. i can tell you that the people who have worked with the speaker gingrich have their own views, and shale express those views. my views are going to focus on the distinctions we have on issues as to comments of other folks supporting me, i don't write their script for them. >> throwing him under the bus or just separating himself from the negative stuff? >> who knew they had scripts. look, mitt romney in 2008 during the debates did show a willingness to go after people. he went aefr john mccain. i think he will be aggressive tomorrow night. the question i think really is, how aggressive is newt gingrich? newt has been very, very passive saying mitt romney can do what he's doing, and i'm going to stay positive. i don't think, andrea, he can hold onto that for long.
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negative ads are run because they work. let's see if newt starts pushing back tomorrow. >> we'll be watching. that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." my colleague, tamryn hall has a look at what's next on "news nation." >> in our next hour we follow developing news. the military has just a few hours left to turn over records surrounding the mishandling of the remains of u.s. service members at dover air force base. i'll talk with a widow of an army sergeant who says she is absolutely more fitified, angry betrayed because her husband's remains were dumped in a landfill without her knowledge. we have a special airing tonight on susan powell, the utah mother who disappeared two years ago this week. the dug gars spark national headlines when they announced michelle is pregnant with the 20th child. she vee veals she suffered a
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miscarriage. what they're saying about it and the reaction on "news nation." to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions... ...protect water - through conservation and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint and respecting wildlife. america's natural gas... domestic, abundant, clean energy to power our lives... that's smarter power today. we get double miles on every purchase. so we earned a holiday trip to the big apple twice as fast! dinner! [ garth ] we get double miles every time we use our card. and since double miles add up fast, we can bring the whole gang! it's hard to beat double miles! i want a mace, a sword, a... oww! [ male announcer ] get the venture card from capital one and earn double miles on every purchase, every day. go to i wonder what it could be?! what's in your wallet?
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what is this shorty? uh, tissues sir, i'm sick. you don't cough, you don't show defeat. give me your war face! raaah! [ male announcer ] halls. a pep talk in every drop.
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news right now to "news nation." a national disgrace. we're a few hours away from a deadline set by a house committee investigating how the remains of fallen soldiers were mishandled after they were returned to the states for burial. key documents are to be handed over today. the wife of a soldier whose remains were dumped in a landfill without her knowledge will join us live. there's something wrong in this country when gays can can serve openly in the military, but our kids can't openly celebrate christmas. >> more fallout from this rick perry ad tieing don't ask don't tell to children and christmas. details why it set up a debate even within perry's own camp and the parodies that have followed. >> i'm not ashamed to admit i'm an ooait


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